It's another busy week as I've decided to go to a nerdy card game tournament at the last minute, and I want to prepare so I might not make too much of a fool of myself. It's nice not to be spending my time dealing with the insanity of things like the global warming debate for a while, but I don't want to be silent so here's a picture from my small trip last week. Remember folks, if you're nervous, go with a friend:
I broke my finger recently bad enough I needed ten stitches, I should recover fine, but it makes typing more difficult. As a result, today's post is going to rely heavily upon things I've already said on Twitter.
The topic today is a recent story going around because of a paper which claims recycling ia a key source of plastic litter that's being found in oceans. The eye-grabbing quote used by the paper is:
While the quote is real, the subsequent interpretation This is a total fabrication. The quote in no way says that. In fact, the source it is taken from makes it explicitly clear this claimed meaning isn't correct. Despite this, the paper is getting a lot of publicity from the global warming "skeptic" crowd.
The GWPF, whose letterhead the paper is published on, issued a press release promoting the paper. Andrew Montford, a popular Skeptic blogger and member of the GWPF has been tweeting to promote it and even published an article to do the same. Watts Up With That, the largest Skeptic website, ran an article promoting it. So forth and so on. Lots of people like what this paper claimed so they somehow failed to notice its central claim is simply made up. That, or maybe they just failed to care.
A bad storm hit Thursday, and I'm still dealing with the aftermath (fortunately, there was no real damage just a huge mess to clean up) so today's post is going to be a but light. I wouldn't even make one today except this issues blows my mind. Yesterday I saw Richard Betts tweet about a new paper of his, with this tweet in particular catching my eye:
This tweet surprised me because the IPCC didn't publish a single PDF for TCR, a matter Betts even discussed a couple weeks ago. What the IPCC did was publish PDFs from a dozen or so studies, not picking one or attempting to combine them into a single PDF. This means there was no single PDF Betts could have chosen to use in his paper as "from IPCC AR5." There were a dozen or so he could have picked from, but...
My last post has received a fair amount of pushback on Twitter despite nobody seeming to be able to find any error with it (save for some typos which I am glad to have fixed). There have been claims that I was wrong to accuse anyone of dishonesty, but in terms of objective matters, The only issue I can find where anyone has said I am wrong arises where I said:
Now, any curious reader would naturally wonder, "Why is Zeke talking about what Hansen's model could have projected from 1958 to 2018 when the model was made/used in 1988?" Zeke doesn't offer an answer. In fact, he doesn't even bother to refer to the issue, not even obliquely.
Zeke tells people we shouldn't judge Hansen's model by what he guessed would happen in the future because Hansen had to try to predict things about human behavior which he couldn't possibly hope to predict, but then, Zeke silently changes the the topic. Instead of looking at what Hansen's model might say about the future (as of 1988), Zeke says we ought to look at what Hansen's model says would happen from 1958 to 2018. That's a huge change in topic, one Zeke not only fails to discuss but completely glosses over.
Is it possible Zeke doesn't understand the difference between judging a person's projections about the future on what happens in the future and judging those projections on what happened in the past? No. That'd be stupid. Zeke clearly knows better than that. He knows fully well that including 30 years of what a model says about what has already happened along with 30 years of what will happen is misleading. He does it anyway.
I can find no defense for claiming it is okay to judge the skill of a model designed to project changes for the future by using 60 years of data, 30 of which were available at the time the model was made. A model was made to try to glean insight about the future, looking at decades of data from the past, and some people 30 years later are saying it is okay to judge that model by comparing its results to data where half of that data was used in creating the model.
That claim is... well, bizarre. I was going to offer a humorous demonstration of why by creating a fake model which would generate results which claim the planet would start cooling after 1988. That obviously didn't happen, yet my fake model would pass the very same tests I criticized with flying colors. My thought was that'd be a funny way of showing how nonsensical these "tests" are.
But then I decided I didn't want to. This issue isn't one I want to joke about. The joke version of this post would have been way more fun, but it also would have been less insightful.
I've been having a hard time finding things to talk about recently. The global warming discussion has gotten incredibly stale for me so I wanted to branch out and look at other things. However, when your focus is on how the world is insane, it's difficult to discuss anything except things involving Donald Trump. There's nothing new or interesting for me to say about him so...
quite frankly, it feels like a waste of time to talk to people. I was given a great example of this recently. I saw this retweeted by a person I follow on Twitter:
Both the person who tweeted it and the person who retweeted it are climate scientists. As such, I was baffled by seeing this. The small exchange which followed shows the futility of trying to have a discussion.
I hit a snag in a post I've been wanting to upload for the last week. It turns out a small mystery I discovered in the leaked DNC e-mails is not quite as small as I had thought. I've downloaded the full collection of DNC e-mails and started running down some ideas/leads, but I don't know if I want to pursue it.
The problem I'm facing is it has been twenty years since the infamous hockey stick paper was published. I've seen a number of articles and blog posts about this (e.g. here). This has me feeling a bit nostalgic. You see, despite 20 years of coverage of the hockey stick debate, the original hockey stick still holds a number of mysteries. The chart was the biggest icon in the global warming debate, yet to this day, we still don't know how a number of things for it were done.
Think about that. The figure is arguably the most iconic image in one of the biggest debates of the last two decades, yet nobody can answer simple questions like, "How did the authors decide which data to use?" That's crazy. Ask anyone, "How did the authors decide which principal components to use?" I guarantee you, they won't know the answer. Nobody does. Some people think they know the answer, but every answer which has been offered so far can easily be proven wrong. Yet people still offer them. People say things which are demonstrably false because they simply won't examine the question. Everyone who does examine it winds up coming away bewildered.
I find that amazing. I would expect iconic work to be closely examined so people could understand it and all of its nuances. Nothing could be further from the truth. Global warming advocates have adamantly refused to give the underlying work for the paper anything more than a cursory glance. Global warming Skeptics have latched onto a number of talking points to "refute" it, but few of them have any real understanding of what the paper did.
That leads me to a question. Does the validity or lack thereof of the original hockey stick matter? If a person could demonstrate, indisputably, it was fraudulent, would it matter? Is there any discussion of the original hockey stick which could possibly change anyone's mind or behavior about anything?
If not, I don't see any point in me talking about it. I'd be better off spending my time on things like the DNC e-mails.
I have a post I planned to run today about a topic which arose from a recent post of mine. It needs a bit more work to finish it up, but I think it is interesting both for it's "big picture" meaning and some of the technical details which are involved. The thing I find most interesting about it is there's a question in it I can't figure out an answer to. I was hoping some public discussion might produce an answer.
But I can't run that post today. As much as I'd like to have a substantive discussion, I just can't since I see an article which came out yesterday which included any number of lines like, "Wind power was all the rage among Nazis, many of whom shared the party's fanatical commitment to the environment." This statement, and many more like it, come from James Delingpole, a prominent member of the global warming Skeptic movement.
This is the same Skeptic movement which likes to freak out any time someone calls them "deniers" because of how that's supposedly comparing them to Holocaust deniers. Why that would be beyond the pale while comparing people to Nazis would be okay is a mystery I could never hope to solve. Continue reading
I've been mulling over how to write this post for a couple days now. The problem I have is what I want to talk about is so ridiculous there is no amount of snark which would be appropriate for it. I was considering writing a post about it without any snark, but I feel like doing that would give a misleading impression about the severity of what I discuss.
After weighing my options, I've decided to write the body of the post without snark while adding this disclaimer to warn people the neutral wording of this post should in no way be taken to indicate what I discuss is not ludicrous. Because it is. This post by Steve McIntyre is, without a doubt, the most absurd thing I've ever seen him write.
And make no mistake, this is no small feat. To this day, McIntyre has refused to acknowledge that Russia invaded Crimea. Russia sent military troops to occupy cities in Crimea, capture government buildings and hold its parliament hostage until they voted to secede from Ukraine.
McIntyre has not denied any of that. He doesn't admit it either. He simply ignores it and says none of that could qualify as an "invasion" because Russia had a treaty with Ukraine which allowed it to have a naval base in Crimea with some troops thers. The United States has military bases in many countries. I am certain he would McIntyre would not say the same if the United States sent troops from one of those bases to a region to occupy cities, capture government buildings and hold the government hostage,
I hope you'll forgive the segue here, but I believe a certain amount of moral outrage is appropriate for Russia's actions and the defense for them given by people like McIntyre. Plus, while today's discussion is about something nowhere near as heinous, it is somehow, more outrageous. And with that, I will refrain from any further rhetoric or snark.
I think my computer is haunted. I've spent several hours examining it today, and here is a small sampling of what I've encountered. On any webpage in Chrome, typing Ctrl+C like you would to copy something is interpreted as typing "". Ctrl+V, used to paste things, is interpreted as "". Backspace isn't recognized as being pressed at all,* but if I hold Ctrl down, it functions as the Delete key. If I open the same page in Firefox, no keys work *unless* I hold down Ctrl, then Ctrl+whatever works like normal.
And that's just the web pages. Firefox has the same problem if I type in its address bar as if I type on a webpage, but Chrome has something different. In Chrome, if I try to type in a web address, Chrome activates the Ctrl-command associated with any key which has one. So if I type the letter a, it uses Ctrl+A to highlight all text. If I type v, it pastes whatever I last copied. So forth and so on.
*For any programmers out there, the key is actually recognized as being pressed down and let up, it just isn't triggering a keypress event to do anything. I have no idea how that's possible.
I am not perfect. Nobody is. I get that. I have made plenty of stupid mistakes in my life. Even so, I don't understand how some mistakes get made. It's even more confusing when those mistakes get included in a publication. For that to happen, the author needs to make the mistake and not notice the mistake while drafting the publication. Then any editors and reviewers have to not notice the mistake. Then usually, readers have to not notice the mistake either.
For some errors, I understand how that might happen. For others, I don't. Today's post is going to discuss an example where several inter-related errors in a publication caused the paper to have dramatically different results than it would have had otherwise.